My idea is to get out of the house. My idea is to go somewhere else. My idea is to be free of housework. My idea is to be free of the obligation of housework, the looming mountain of housework. My idea is to be free of the very idea of housework’s existence. My idea is to be free. My idea is to be free to write.
So. First. I get rid of the kids, dropping them at school. Then I make the fatal mistake in my bid for freedom. You see, I go home. I put key in the lock, I turn the key, I open the front door and I’m instantly pulled into the vortex of housework doom, a maelstrom of debris from children and ubiquitous family gunginess that swirls around me and I know I have to do something about it or we will all be consumed into an eternal black hole inhabited with stray loom bands and abandoned orange peel.
I sweep, wipe, stack dishes, unstack dishes. I empty the dustpan into the bin and can't help but notice it is undeniably overflowing with slimy paper and meat packaging and I know what I have to do. I have to empty the bin. With a longing glance at the clock, I lift the bag from the bin. As I walk out the door the bag splits and the putrid insides spill on the door step like Satan’s spew. I sweep it up. I have to. I then know what I have to do.
I have to mop the floors. Then, because if I’m going to wash the floors I may as well wipe over the bathroom sink and mirror, I do that. Again I glance at the clock. Now I’m hungry. The morning is starting to feel like a bad acid trip and I somehow know the next time I look up at the clock it will be time to pick up the kids and my day will be over and I will emerge tense and ruffled with a nervous tick and having achieved nothing I set out to do.
Which is when I snap. I flee. I grab the laptop which was given to me in order to get out of the house and write but which has in fact has sat on the kitchen bench like a glorified appliance and been used by all and sundry to play games, check emails, look up recipes, put on footy tips and to do the guardian online cross word. I push that lid down and get out of there before the grime from the kitchen cupboards begins screaming at me to put them out of their misery with a warm cloth, before the dirt on the rug begins to take shape and crawl before my eyes. Before the washing machine finishes and I would have to hang out another load of smalls.
My journey into town is long and convoluted. It takes a strange turn when I hitch a lift with a friend before being dropped at a tram stop, waiting then catching a tram, and finally I seem to be heading in the direction I desire. The surrounding mass of people make me feel part of something and strangely inconspicuous as only a city can do. There is an onslaught of smells and faces unfamiliar which instantly get my brain whirring.
Then I panic and get off at the wrong stop. I wander around streets overhanging with machines full of cranes and steel but seemingly absent of humans. Wind whips through streets that are overshadowed with high rises and again I wonder if I have made a mistake. Then I see the sign “Library ahead”. A sense of comfort suffuses me.
On entering it is at once familiar but strange. Intimidating in the newness and innovation but comforting in that it is full of books. I’ve come here to write but the place is full of books. Books about history, craft, art, hairstyles and tattoos. But I’ve come here to write. But there’s books about everything you can in fact imagine. I start to wonder if the world needs any more books ever and why it would need one by me.
I’ve made a mistake. Wrong shoes. They are too loud on the highly polished wooden floor. I clomp around and each step reverberates that I am an outsider. That I don’t belong here. I am an interloper escaping another world. I find an empty place at a bench and extract my laptop from my huge bag like a magician taking a rabbit from a hat. I place it on the pristine pale wooden bench that looks like it’s straight from a Danish design catalogue. Or perhaps. less romantically, from Ikea. I open my lap top and almost guffaw as stray grains of rice and general household fluff springs from it, highly visible in the sun filled space. The keyboard is covered in grease, hair from every inhabitant in my house and mysterious grit - as through the housework has snuck into my bag and followed me here, niggling at me even now.
But I’ve had an idea. My idea is to leave the house. My idea is to leave the house and be free. My idea is to leave the house and be free to write. And write, I have.This is a photo of the view from sitting at the bench at the Library at the Dock.